Born in Boston, Massachusetts, and raised in two cities in Ohio, Janney won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the summer of 1984, following her graduation from Kenyon College. After years of minor and uncredited film and television appearances, Janney's breakthrough came with the role of C. J. Cregg in the NBC political drama The West Wing (1999–2006), for which she received four Primetime Emmy Awards. The character was widely popular during the airing of the series and was later recognized as one of the greatest female characters on American television. In 2014, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Margaret Scully on the Showtime period drama Masters of Sex. Since 2013, she has starred as a cynical recovering addict in the CBS sitcom Mom. Her performance on the show has gained her five consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations and won her two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.